Sunday, April 2, 2017

3 Weeks in using Kotlin

After using Kotlin for just three weeks I say it would be very hard to go back to Java. Everything takes less code, is just easier to do and the code readability just makes more sense. Part of it is using new libraries such as Retrofit as well. It is just super easy to set up a REST call.

I have created a small Kotlin utility that coverts JSON right out of Charles Proxy to best guess Kotlin objects used by Moshi. I am also use Moshi to pass the objects from one Activity to another. So nice to not need to configure a bunch of parameters to set in the Intent to send over data, just one and it contains the full object as a string that I convert right back to a full object when I get it on the other side. Every bit of data is there ready to use and it just takes one line on each side to send / receive.

I am up to 24 fragments / activities already. A bunch of adapters as I am using ListView when it fits and configured my first Kotlin RecyclerView as well. All pretty clean and easy and working like a champ. There is a ton of code that is done and a lot more to do. My Trello checklist keeps growing.

The iOS code uses a bar code scanner. I set that up on Friday. Went in really easily and with a lot less code that what the iOS guy had to do. I did create and swap out the icon for that action as iOS was using a camera which made no sense to me. On the iOS simulator a UIViewController showed up for a brief moment and disappeared so I had no idea what this area was even doing. I asked QA, who has a real device, and found out I needed a bar code scanner.

The switch to Kotlin should have happened some time back. It is hard to get yourself to do it on an existing product. I was totally starting from scratch here so it really was the perfect time to give it a shot. If I had gotten a little ways in and found I could not handle it I could have backed out and just gone Java. I force myself to keep going. Really were very few struggle areas and that was related to trying new 3rd party libraries and not Kotlin.

As I have worked along there has been a bit of code refactoring as I have found better ways to do things and I have taken cut / paste code and moved it into one location. You don't know it needs to be shared until you use it multiple times. I have a bunch of other ideas for refactoring as well running through my head this weekend that I will give a shot this week. Want to get the code as far along as possible for QA to be able to start in depth testing before I get too refactor crazy.

There is a need to connect to a credit card reader in the near future. I have not messed with that library yet. Hoping it is pretty straight forward. Something I might end up tackling this week.

I have been shooting for breadth over depth for the first three weeks. Get as menu drawer menu items to show something as possible. This might be the initial list and the first details screen. Next up is taking each screen and filling everything out. The ability to add a new order, the order detail screen, navigation form order to order etc. The order detail screen can be accessed from a lot of places and is key to things working. It will be RecyclerView based with a lot of business logic as to what to show when.

Knocking out all the main stuff gets the REST calls in place and allows me to demo a lot of aspects. Most of that is request / reply / show data so not much can go wrong. The next steps will be the business logic and where I actually POST / PUT stuff back to the server. Data validation, hide / show of controls, etc. and that is where the real meat of QA will reside. Set up to tackle a chuck of that this week. Kotlin probably does not help nor hinder that area. It is learning business logic and applying it in code. 

Kotlin has won me over. I don't see going back to Java for Android.

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